Birrell determined to break into world’s top 100
Kimberly Birrell, Australia's No.2-ranked woman, is hoping to continue her career-best form on European clay in coming weeks.
The resurgent Kimberly Birrell has her sights set on a top-100 breakthrough.
The 24-year-old from the Gold Coast has made an impressive start to the season, with six top-100 wins and a maiden WTA quarterfinal appearance among her outstanding results. This helped Birrell rise to a career-high ranking of world No.111 last month.
It is a welcome return to form for Birrell, who was left questioning her future in the sport after undergoing multiple elbow surgeries in recent years.
“I’m going to try my best to get as close to the top 100 as I can,” Birrell told tennis.com.au of her 2023 goals.
“I’m not sure if it will happen before Roland Garros, but you never know. Things can change really quickly in tennis. It’s definitely a goal of mine to reach the Wimbledon main draw. I think that’s definitely within the realm of possibility.”
Birrell, who grew up playing on hard courts and lists grass as her favourite surface, is preparing to compete on European clay for the first time since 2019.
“I haven’t played a clay season for a really long time, so I don’t really have many expectations,” she admitted.
“I’m just going to try to enjoy it. I think your attitude is everything when it comes to clay.”
Birrell has contested only two clay-court tournaments in the past four years, both at ITF level in Canberra last season.
“Honestly I’m just really stoked that my elbow is good enough for me to play the clay season,” she said.
“There was a point in time where I wasn’t sure I’d be able to play much on clay, just because of how heavy it is and how long the points are.”
Birrell, who has been training on clay at the Queensland Tennis Centre for the past fortnight, is also taking inspiration from compatriot Ash Barty.
“Ash didn’t love playing on clay and she ended up winning Roland Garros, so you never know,” she smiled.
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m feeling really good about the way I’m playing and most of all, I’m just really enjoying it. Hopefully that continues.”
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